Diversification does not just apply to portfolio theory; nor should it be a corporate strategy that creates resentment in hiring decisions. Diversity in SMBs needs to be perceived as a competitive advantage because of the innovation that is born out of diversity. Organizations that can avoid “group think” and leverage diverse perspectives generate more innovation, creativity and originality. Diversity also breeds cultural competence in an organization, which makes that organization more appealing when recruiting top talent.
The real focus needs to be on inclusion. Mentoring young talent is a great first step towards being more inclusive. It’s important for brands to understand that diversity is not limited to race, ethnicity and gender, but there is also tremendous value in generational diversity. Many organizations are struggling with millennial integration and a big part of that struggle stems from lack of mentoring and/or coaching. There’s a big difference between managing and mentoring. Managing is more about providing directives and timelines. Mentoring is more about nurturing and developing. Mentoring is much more empowering and inclusive and thus much more beneficial for the employee and the organization.
Cognitive diversity is about having team members that think differently. They don’t just differ in opinions from time to time, but they actually take a different approach to processing information and problem solving. This gives you a variety of ways to approach issues and challenges and come up with solutions that you would have never even considered. Many organizations focus on identity diversity, which is based on visible differences such as race, ethnicity or gender. The challenge with focusing on identity diversity only is you can have someone of a different race who has a similar educational background and upbringing as everyone else in the organization and thus think like everyone else and you lose the benefit of diverse perspectives and fall victim to group think.
Intrigued? We’d love to discuss diversity and inclusion as a strategy to spur your business to new heights and help you more effectively serve your internal stakeholders!
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